I glance out the window before I can pause the habit in its tracks. He's not going to be there, I try to remind myself. He will never again be standing outside my window trying to get my attention. But... you never know... what would you do if he came and went and you never saw...? The voice in my head whispers to me, coaxing fantasy dreaming parts of me into believing he might regret the fight, might apologize. I know he won't, though. He's too proud.
I turn my gaze back to my homework and sigh at the mountain of it. The big white pile mocking me with thoughts of better winters, of snowy topped mountains and sledding. Winter break and the teachers still never relent. My mind drifts again from the algebra I'm supposed to be doing and wanders into memories of this time, last year.
That's the holiday I'll always remember. The teachers went easy and my parents took my brother and me skiing. Everything was perfect. Why couldn't this year be like that? Do you only get that one perfect memory and beyond that life follows the "I suck and then you die," routine?
A shout from downstairs alerts me to the rising volume level. My mom and dad are arguing, once more, over what TV shows Michael should be allowed to watch. As I listen, the argument invariably turns, as it always does, to my mother. My father following his usual rant of "Why do you care now?" She's always at work. Why does she just think she can parent only when she feels like it? Only when she has the time?
Michael is a year younger than my sixteen years and we, generally, get along great. My dad and I have always been close and he's always been there for me. But my mother? I don't get her. From my position at my desk, I can hear Michael entering the argument. Somehow, my brother was granted the gift of eternal calm and he tends to wrap it around people, a hazy blanket of comfort, putting out fires as he goes. Not too much later the shouting has stopped.
Soft footsteps climb the stairs and Michael enters my room, flopping himself on my bed.
"They were at it again."
We sit in silence for awhile until Michael stands.
"I'm going to go take a nap, okay? Tell Dad I'll be down for supper later."
He leaves and I return to my algebra, fighting the urge again to look out my window.